Most people probably think of exploration as the main way of finding more oil and gas resources—but in fact, getting more out of existing fields by improving recovery rates (IOR) is just as important.
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Increased recovery—our hidden exploration
We believe increasing recovery rates is just as important as exploration of new acreage, especially on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). Our continuous innovation has made us a world leader in increasing oil and gas recovery. On the NCS, we have increased the average oil recovery rate on our fields to 50%, well above the worldwide industry average of 35%.
Optimising reservoir recovery calls for new solutions
Research and technology are critical success factors to achieve safe operations and get the most out of our fields in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. If we are to further increase the recovery rate and reach a goal of 60%, we have to crack more codes and develop our toolbox. Immobile oil, complex reservoirs and falling reservoir pressure are some of the challenges that demand new and innovative solutions.
That is why half of our research and development budget has been earmarked for improved recovery. A dedicated improved oil recovery (IOR) centre in Trondheim, Norway, gives us a unique opportunity to solve future IOR challenges. Around 3,000 Statoil employees are hard at work on initiatives to extend the life of our fields.
Taking topside technology to the seabed
We were the first company to apply subsea gas compression, putting us at the forefront of improved recovery technologies on the seabed. The Åsgard Subsea Gas Compression facility represents the best of pioneering subsea technology that we have developed.
The subsea compression unit in the Norwegian sea will add some 306 million barrels of oil equivalents to the total output over the field’s life.
The technology is part of the ongoing advancement in developing subsea compressors that enable us to contribute to an optimal use of resources and pursue opportunities further from existing infrastructure. Recovery from the Midgard reservoir on Åsgard will increase from 67% to 87% and from 59% to 84% from the Mikkel reservoir.
In the North Sea Gullfaks field, Statoil is developing innovative wet gas compression facilities on the seabed. The unique technology will increase recovery by 22 million barrels of oil equivalent and extend plateau production by around two years from the reservoir. Subsea processing and gas compression represent the next generation oil and gas recovery, taking us a big step forward.